Emma Roberts is an EFT Master and Master Trainer, Clinical Hypnotherapist and NLP Master Practitioner.
Aga Kehinde is a Cancer Clinical Nurse Specialist, Cancer Coach and Educator, Advanced EFT and NLP practitioner.
Originally published here.
Cancer Can Affect Lives in so many ways.
Experiences of cancer are much more than just about the practicalities of the process.
Dealing with a, many times unexpected, cancer diagnosis may bring feelings of anxiety surrounding the uncertainty, stress, worry, fear of the unknown, fear of the future, obsessing about the past, inability to think straight or act normally.
Patients are often in a state of shock whilst being thrown straight into an ongoing series of decision making, lifestyle changes, work challenges and treatment itself, be that surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy or immunotherapy drug treatments. In a nutshell, life as the patient knows it changes at that point, often beyond recognition. They become a ‘cancer patient’ and family, friends and colleagues often relate to them in a different way. A cancer diagnosis can have a massive impact on someone’s identity, and who they are in the world.
Each step in the cancer process generates a range of emotions and stress, for the individual, the caregiver, and the healthcare professionals in contact with the patient at each specific point along the pathway.
Daily exposure to stressful conditions may have an impact on health, sleep and eating habits or paralyse your thoughts and feelings. Sometimes the prolonged and intense experience of stress may cause stress injury or trauma which may possibly even lead to post-traumatic stress disorder in the future.
When you find yourself in a constant state of high stress and anxiety it can make you feel detached or disassociated, almost like your experiences do not seem real. Patients talk of an inability to connect with people and they will often suppress their emotions in order to protect those around them.
EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) is a brief self-applied stress reduction technique using elements of cognitive therapy, with physical stimulation of acupuncture points. It is often referred to as ‘Tapping’ as it uses a two finger tapping process on known acupuncture points.
“Acupoint tapping sends signals directly to the stress centres of the mid-brain, not mediated by the frontal lobes (the thinking part, active in talk therapy).” Dr Dawson Church.
The method was developed in the late 1990s by engineer and performance coach Gary Craig and inspired largely from the work of Dr. Roger Callahan, developer of Thought Field Therapy (TFT). EFT is simple to learn and complements both the medical and the alternative models of healthcare.
The tapping can be particularly supportive for patients who are experiencing emotional impact and physical side effects of their cancer diagnosis and treatment. The effectiveness of their outcome is enhanced as a result.
It empowers cancer patients to manage their own emotional wellbeing at a time when they may feel helpless and frightened. It is a tool that is literally at their fingertips, meaning they can use it any time they need, including before hospital appointments, scans, surgery etc. It has been well documented that the calmer the patient is, the less side effects seem to arise. The tapping gives patients the opportunity to find renewed meaning in life and to develop emotional resilience, to better be able to deal with the issues that result from their cancer diagnosis and treatment.
As we begin to notice, acknowledge, and transform how we carry our emotions, we begin to see just how this may be contributing to pain, illness, or other personal challenges. By using EFT, we can reconnect with our innate sense of unshakeable wellbeing by releasing the intensity of emotions and transforming the way uncomfortable feelings like hurt, guilt, fear, or anger may be impacting our everyday experience. We become more considered and less reactive in our approach to our life.
There is now more than 20 years of research and over 170 published research studies showing that EFT has statistically significant positive results across a range of different conditions, decreasing phobias, anxiety and relieving symptoms of PTSD, chronic pain and many more.
The CDC (Centre for Disease Control) states that approximately 85-90% of all illnesses and diseases have an emotional component behind them. When we remove the emotional issue, the illness or dis-ease or pain will often lessen or disappear.
How EFT works
The mechanisms behind EFT include deactivation of the amygdala (stress centre in the brain) and hippocampus (memory centre).
Using tapping will not only allow you to reduce stress immediately but will also allow you to safely process past memories that may have contributed to the intensity of your current stress response.
With the fight and flight response we are wired for action, and when the threat is not real but more a continuum of the anxiety mode, we are using an extremely high amount of energy and body resources. It is vital for our physical and mental wellbeing to move from the stress response to a relaxed state as quickly and as often as possible.
EFT has also been shown to significantly lower cortisol levels. When we are under stress, the prefrontal cortex of the brain, our rational thinking brain, goes “offline”, and our body’s level of adrenaline and cortisol increase. The tapping has been shown to calm the amygdala and bring us back to a more resourceful state.
Research on gene expression indicates EFT has the ability to down regulate genes associated with the stress response, and up-regulate or improve immune functioning.
“EFT is a true mind-body approach in that it includes direct interventions at the level of the body, it changes brain activity very rapidly and it has special advantages in quickly and permanently shifting outdated emotional learnings’’. Dr Peta Stapleton.
There is a growing research to how EFT can support and Cancer which you can access here
Let’s explore what EFT is NOT…
EFT does not claim to offer a cure for cancer but it is a powerful support for positive well-being and building your confidence so you can play an active role in your healing.
EFT is NOT a replacement for adequate mental health counselling or physiological treatment.
- Clinical EFT as an evidence-based practice for the treatment of psychological and physiological conditions: A systematic review.
- Preliminary Support for Emotional Freedom Techniques as a Support for Cancer Patients | Foundation for Alternative and Integrative Medicine.
- Kalroozi, F., Moradi, M., Ghaedi‐Heidari, F., Marzban, A., & Raeisi‐Ardali, S. R. (2022). Comparing the effect of emotional freedom technique on sleep quality and happiness of women undergoing breast cancer surgery in military and nonmilitary families: A quasi‐experimental multicenter study. Perspectives in Psychiatric Care, 58(4), 2986–2997.
- Tack, L., Lefebvre, T., Lycke, M., Langenaeken, C., Fontaine, C., Borms, M., Hanssens, M., Knops, C., Meryck, K., Boterberg, T., Pottel, H., Schofield, P., & Debruyne, P. R. (2021). A randomised wait-list controlled trial to evaluate Emotional Freedom Techniques for self-reported cancer-related cognitive impairment in cancer survivors (EMOTICON). EClinicalMedicine, 39, 101081. MEDLINE Complete. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.eclinm.2021.101081.
- Liu, J., Yang, L., Chen, J. (2017). Effect of emotional freedom technique on perceived stress, anxiety and depression in cancer patients: a preliminary experiment. Modern Clinical Nursing, 16(10):34-38. doi: 10.3969/j.issn.1671-8283.2017.10.008.
- Baker, B. & Hoffman, C. (2015). Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) to reduce the side effects associated with tamoxifen and aromatase inhibitor use in women with breast cancer: A service evaluation. European Journal of Integrative Medicine 7(2), 136-42. DOI:10.1016/j.eujim.2014.10.004.